I've wanted to switch over from OS X to Linux as my main OS for some time now, but I have a few questions that I would prefer to be answered before I try. Please excuse my general lack of knowledge in the subject !

I have a MacBook Air 11 inch, mid 2013 model. There is hardly any free space on the SSD so I would like to backup and delete all the data before installing Linux. Is this the right thing to do, and are there any specific things I should do as to be sure that if anything goes wrong in the process I can revert to my computer's current state ?

Which distro would you recommend for my needs and comptuer/model ? I will mainly be using it for programming, but would also like to be able to use it to Skype people, browse the web etc. and at some point to dabble in hacking (Of course if I just wanted to use it for hacking I would probably go with Kali Linux, but I'm not sure if there's a different distro that would suit my needs better generally, specifically for programming, on which I could then install the tools that Kali Linux includes).

I've also heard that getting WiFi to work with Linux on a Mac-Book Air can be painful - Is this true and is there any way to get around it ? As the only other computer I have is a desktop, it would be incredibly inconvenient to have to have my laptop connected to Ethernet every time I connect to the internet, and certainly no good for hacking (Though I am thinking of buying a USB WiFi card capable of packet injection for hacking, so perhaps that would be problem solved).

So just to go over my questions once more :

  • What should I do in terms of backing up my data ?
  • Which distro would you recommend ?
  • Do you have any other tips in terms of :

    • The installation process.
    • Where to start.
    • Tips to do with fine tuning the settings for my hardware, drivers, compatibility (issues) etc.
    • Anything else I should know about in general.

Thank you in advance.

Cheers, Fjpackard.

Edit: I don't know who downvote the question, but please don't downvote it – if I've done anything wrong, let me know any I'd be happy to change it. This is the first question I've posted on this forum ! Thanks. :)

  • Upvoted purely to reverse the undeserved downvote somebody casted. – John Militer Jun 29 '17 at 2:45

With respect to distros, I would suggest Ubuntu Mate, I try to "rescue" older machines from the Windoze graveyard for kicks, and I'm always cycling through "lightweight" distros for this purpose. I've been surprised lately how well behaved (i.e., not resource hungry) Mate is while still being "stylish".

I bet, once installed correctly, it would fly on an air; my $0.02. This post, in fact, is being typed from Mate on an early 2008 Macbook ;D.



I think, you must to make space for your Linux...

Create partition around 20GB using Disk Utility ... maybe you need EXT4 partition... I recommend to use: Paragon ExtFS for MAC ... or this Link http://osxdaily.com/2014/03/20/mount-ext-linux-file-system-mac/ O another File System... you can to format (with the right File System later) in the installation time too!.

Now, later you create your partition... Restart pressing ALT (Option) key in your MAC, select your USB or DVD and select the partition... If you want to format the partition this is the time....

For me a 2013 model is not old for Linux, But I don't know the characteristic of your model.

I prefer use CentOS, but you can to use another linux flavor... I running CentOS 7, with Only (1) One Core and 1.5GB RAM using Virtual Machine on Virtual Box, It is quickier than macOS Sierra and Windows 10 with the same characteristic.

Later of your installation, you can to select with ALT (Option) your Operative System macOS / Linux.


If you go to this website it will tell you everything on how to download it


  • “While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes.” – Pandya Feb 8 '16 at 13:19

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